25 May 2010
Last Friday, the beginning of this last warm weekend, I stopped off along Whitechapel because I got a yearning for an Alphonso mango. I'd seen them for sale on one of my walks home from the Women's Library the week before but didn't fancy carrying a box all the way home. The bad news was that there were no Alphonsos left. The good news was that there were some Kesar mangoes for sale, £4.50 a box, and just the right size to fit in my panniers. I write that as if I am an expert on mangoes. I'm not. In fact, I had never heard of Kesar mangoes before, but how could anyone resist them in their neat little box, Farm fresh, all the way from the orchards of Mumbai. As if a whole box was not enough, I crossed the road and found some giant over-ripe mangoes for sale, four for a pound, and bought those too. Mango heaven.
I have a friend who loves food and says that she can remember the first time she tried a particular food - what it was, I can't remember. I was a bit snippy about it. But since I've had mangoes on my mind, I realise that I can remember the first time I ate a ripe mango. It wasn't in some exotic foreign location, but in St Dunstan's churchyard, on a warm afternoon. I can clearly recall the geranium scent, and the juice running down my face and hands.
When it was too hot to sleep in the early hours of yesterday morning, I crept downstairs to open the back doors and let in some air, wondering how people ever managed in hot climates. Maybe eating mangoes in the coolth of the garden helps. Especially when nobody can see the mess you make.